Competition as a Socially Desirable Dilemma. Theory vs. Experimental Evidence
Cartels are inherently instable. Each cartelist is best off if it breaks the cartel, while the remain-ing firms remain loyal. If firms interact only once, if products are homogenous, if firms compete in price, and if marginal cost is constant, theory even predicts that strategic interaction forces firms to set the market clearing price. For society, this would be welcome news. Without antitrust intervention, the market outcome maximises welfare. The argument becomes even stronger if the opposite market side has a chance to defend itself; if imposing harm on the opposite market side is salient; if it is clear that cartels are at variance with normative expectations prevalent in society. There is an equally long list of reasons, though, why such optimism might be unwarranted: capacity is limited; interaction is repeated, and the end is uncertain; firms might be willing to run a limited risk of being exploited by their competitors, hoping that the investment pays. This paper explores the question both theoretically and experimentally. In the interest of capitalising on a rich body of experimental findings, and on the concept of conditional cooperation in particular, the paper offers a formal model that interprets oligopoly as a linear public good.
|Date of creation:||Aug 2009|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10 - D- 53113 Bonn|
Phone: +49-(0)228 / 91416-0
Fax: +49-(0)228 / 91416-55
Web page: http://www.coll.mpg.de/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Christoph Engel, 2015.
"Tacit Collusion – The Neglected Experimental Evidence,"
Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods
2015_04, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
- Christoph Engel, 2007. "Tacit Collusion. The Neglected Experimental Evidence," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2007_14, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised Jan 2015.
- Rotemberg, Julio J & Saloner, Garth, 1986. "A Supergame-Theoretic Model of Price Wars during Booms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 390-407, June.
- repec:ebl:ecbull:v:3:y:2002:i:3:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
- Jennifer Zelmer, 2003. "Linear Public Goods Experiments: A Meta-Analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 299-310, November.
- Christoph Engel, 2006. "How Much Collusion. A Meta-Analysis On Oligopoly Experiments," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2006_27, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
- Christoph Engel, 2008. "The Behaviour of Corporate Actors. A Survey of the Empirical Literature," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2008_23, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
- Switgard Feuerstein, 2005. "Collusion in Industrial Economics—A Survey," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 163-198, December.
- Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, .
"A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation,"
IEW - Working Papers
004, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., . "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Chapters in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
- Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter & Ernst Fehr, .
"Are People Conditionally Cooperative? Evidence from a Public Goods Experiment,"
IEW - Working Papers
016, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
- Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, June.
- Raymond Deneckere & Carl Davidson, 1985. "Incentives to Form Coalitions with Bertrand Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(4), pages 473-486, Winter.
- David M. Kreps & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1983. "Quantity Precommitment and Bertrand Competition Yield Cournot Outcomes," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 326-337, Autumn.
- Abreu, Dilip, 1988. "On the Theory of Infinitely Repeated Games with Discounting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 383-96, March.
- Slade, Margaret E., 1990. "Strategic pricing models and interpretation of price-war data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(2-3), pages 524-537, May.
- Rosenthal, Robert W., 1981. "Games of perfect information, predatory pricing and the chain-store paradox," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 92-100, August.
- Carl Davidson & Raymond Deneckere, 1986. "Long-Run Competition in Capacity, Short-Run Competition in Price, and the Cournot Model," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(3), pages 404-415, Autumn.
- Steffen Huck & Brian Wallace, 2002. "Reciprocal strategies and aspiration levels in a Cournot-Stackelberg experiment," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 3(3), pages 1-7.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2009_24. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marc Martin)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.